Anna Leask

Anna Leask is senior police reporter for the New Zealand Herald.

Kronic 'king' on bail after facing drug charges in Australia

Matthew Wielenga says his party pills business enables him to travel. Photo / Supplied
Matthew Wielenga says his party pills business enables him to travel. Photo / Supplied

New Zealand's "king" of legal cannabis faces trafficking charges in Australia after allegedly being found with a "commercial quantity" of drugs.

Matthew Wielenga was arrested about 8pm on Friday in the Melbourne suburb of Southbank.

The 30-year-old is facing charges of trafficking a commercial quantity of synthetic cannabinoids and two counts of possessing a drug of dependence.

The Melbourne Magistrates Court yesterday heard he was found with more than 100kg of Kronic, a synthetic marijuana product, and 1kg of white powder said to be a synthetic cocaine sold as Diablo.

The alleged drugs are yet to be analysed and Wielenga had made no admissions, the court heard.

Defence lawyer Greg Barns said the elements of Kronic kept changing and might not fall within the substances banned by Victorian law.

Wielenga was granted bail on a A$100,000 surety and is to reappear in court on March 18.

Dressed in jeans and a dark T-shirt, he appeared to be listening intently throughout the court hearing.

The New Zealander must stay at an address in the suburb of Richmond, report to local police daily and surrender his passport.

Wielenga is a director of Lightyears Ahead, the company responsible for bringing Kronic to New Zealand. Kronic is laced with chemicals mimicking cannabis and is often much stronger than the real thing. It was banned in New Zealand in August.

Wielenga, who ran his lucrative Kronic empire from Albany on Auckland's North Shore, is understood to have travelled to Australia with about nine of his employees last week.

The group were in Australia for a music festival, a source said.

Nisha Din, described as the general manager of Lightyears Ahead, said the firm strongly denied any illegal activity. She referred the Herald to Wellington law firm Chen Palmer.

Partner Mai Chen did not return calls last night.

Wielenga describes his party pill business on his Facebook page: "I run my own company that provides products to get people high. They are sold all over the world, which gives me a great excuse to travel."

- NZ Herald

© Copyright 2014, APN New Zealand Limited

Assembled by: (static) on production apcf01 at 31 Oct 2014 22:52:26 Processing Time: 500ms